Eagle Bancorp in Bethesda, Md., is taking advantage of higher interest rates.

The $7.7 billion-asset company said in a press release late Wednesday that its first-quarter profit rose 32% from a year earlier to $35.7 million.

Net interest income rose 13% to $75.8 million after total loans increased by 13% to $6.6 billion and the net interest margin expanded by 3 basis points to 4.17%. Deposits rose by 6% to $6.1 billion, led by a jump in noninterest deposits.

Ronald Paul, Eagle Bancorp's chairman, president and CEO.
Eagle, led by CEO Ronald Paul, has focused on variable-rate loans as interest rates rise.

The majority of Eagle's loans have floating rates, Ronald Paul, the company's chairman and CEO, said in the release.

Net charge-offs of $923,000 amounted to just 0.06% of average loans on an annualized basis, while nonperforming loans totaled 0.2% of total loans Eagle added $2 million to its loan-loss allowance due to its loan growth.

Eagle reported a $2 million spike in legal and professional fees, which it largely attributed to "the internet event in late 2017.”

Aurelius Value in late December accused Paul and other directors of dubious insider dealings. While Eagle pushed back against the claims, the incident rocked the company's stock over several days.

Overall, noninterest expense rose 6% to $31.2 million.

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